Hillman joins Gilmore as potential school board candidate

Rick Wagner • Mar 3, 2018 at 3:00 PM

BLOUNTVILLE — With the planned entry of Gee Gee Hillman, the District 6 Sullivan County school board contest could be shaping as a race between two retired longtime county educators: political newcomers Hillman and Randall “Randy” Gilmore.

Hillman, the widow of former county property assessor Ron Hillman, has joined Gilmore in picking up a petition for the seat held by Jerry Greene, who is not seeking re-election. Hillman taught more than 38 years in the county school system before retiring in 2012 but continues to substitute, both at the middle school level and at Sullivan Central High School, where she was in the first graduating class in 1969.

The filing deadline is noon on April 5 for the nonpartisan race on the Aug. 2 county general election ballot.

Elsewhere on the ballot, BOE Chairman and District 4 member Michael Hughes filed his petition Feb. 16, while District 2 member Dan Wells has picked up a petition. 

“I’m trying to get my petition signed,” Hillman said Thursday in an interview.

She spent most of her career as a third-grade teacher at Rock Springs Elementary School, beginning the year it opened in 1979 and continuing until 2012, after starting out at Miller Perry Elementary in 1974. She also was president of the Sullivan County Education Association for two years and was the county’s Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2011.

Hillman earned an undergraduate degree in elementary education at East Tennessee State University and her master’s in education at Tusculum.

“I would like to take a shot at being on the school board and see how I can help the schools and make them better for teachers and students,” Hillman said. “I think a teacher should be on the school board.”

Among current members, not up for re-election this year, are retired teacher Jane Thomas and retired Bristol, Tenn., administrator and former teacher Randall Jones.

Retired Colonial Heights Middle School principal Gilmore, director of teacher education and assistant professor of education at King University, was in education 33 years, serving as a teacher in Sullivan County and Bristol, Tenn., as well as assistant principal at Sullivan South High.

Greene, of Bristol, cited health concerns in his decision not to seek re-election. He has served about 33 years on local school boards — nine in Bristol and almost 24 in the county.

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